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Stephen Dillon
food envy

'The trick to this dish is getting all of your prep done': 5 flavour-packed meals from a seafood lover in Meath

Stephen Dillon shares a few recent favourite dinners, including smoky chorizo salmon.

EACH WEEK, WE ask a home cook about the dishes they’ve been whipping up of late. The kind of food you don’t need a recipe for, from quick snacks to empty-the-fridge dinners.

This week, Meath-based foodie Stephen Dillon (@mcfussy) shared five of his favourite mouth-watering recipes. 

“I have a real love of seafood, so I find myself cooking fish and shellfish more and more,” says Stephen.

“We are so lucky in Ireland to have such amazing ingredients on our doorstep. Our meat and seafood is up there with the best in the world!”

From herb-crusted cod to BBQ lamb kebabs, below are five of Stephen’s most-loved dishes.

1. Smoked haddock risotto: Risotto is always a delicious classic when you are in the mood for comfort food. They say no two risottos are the same and I agree, but once you use good ingredients and don’t rush, the results are usually amazing. Start with chopped onion and a garlic clove, sweat them down, then add Arborio rice just as everything is starting to brown and the rice is becoming transparent around the edges. De-glaze with white wine then start adding stock. Stir until absorbed and repeat.

When the rice is soft, add smoked haddock, grate in Parmesan cheese and some lemon zest. To make it extra rich, stir in a tablespoon of creme fraiche. Top with some basil, a drizzle of good olive oil and more Parmesan. Ta-da!

2. Herb-crusted cod: This is a great dinner party dish that looks way harder to make than it is and works well with any fish, although I prefer to use cod or haddock. Blend 200g of crusty bread with Parmesan, grated lemon zest, one clove of garlic, a handful of basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread the herby breadcrumb mix evenly over cod fillets on a baking tray and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. The breadcrumbs should be nice and golden – you can turn the grill on towards the end if you want the topping extra crispy!

cod Stephen Dillon Stephen Dillon

3. Pork with cashews, lime and mint: This is one of my favourite quick dinners that hits all the right notes. We normally have it on its own or add some salted baby gem lettuce with a squeeze of lime juice, which creates a nice kind of yuk sung buzz (little lettuce wraps, a traditional Chinese dish). The trick to this is getting all of your prep done and having everything ready as you need to move pretty quickly at times! The recipe I use is from Nigel Slater’s Real Food.

pork Stephen Dillon Stephen Dillon

4. Smoky chorizo salmon: This is super easy to make and a pretty healthy fish dish – perfect for a midweek supper. Pan fry two 150g seasoned salmon fillets, halve 300g of cherry tomatoes and tear up a handful of basil. Toss the tomatoes and basil with one tbsp of red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add eight to 10 black olives (stones removed) and about one tbsp of olive oil and mix again.

Thinly chop 30g of chorizo and add to the salmon in the pan for the last two minutes of cooking. Place the salmon on two plates with the chorizo equally divided, then spoon over the tomatoes and olives mixture. Delicious!

5. BBQ lamb kebabs with homemade flatbreads: These are great on the BBQ but can be cooked on a griddle pan too. Get 500g of good quality lamb and cut it into chunks suitable for skewers. Pop it in a bowl and marinade with a teaspoon of cumin powder, chilli powder, smoked paprika olive oil, salt and pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Marinade for two hours or overnight if possible.

Flatbreads are surprisingly easy to make but you can use pitta bread or wraps if you want to skip this bit. Start with 350g self raising flour, one teaspoon baking powder, 350g natural yoghurt. Combine the ingredients and let rest for about 30 minutes. Divide into four and roll or flatten with dusting flour into rounds about the size of a small dinner plate.

Cook the skewered kebabs on the BBQ or griddle pan, turning regularly until cooked to your liking. Pan fry the flat breads for two minutes on each side and set aside. You can brush some melted garlic and herb butter on the flatbreads for some extra flavour. Serve the lamb with the warm flatbreads accompanied with Greek yoghurt, mixed in with some lime juice, salt and coriander. Add some hot sauce if you want to spice things up and get stuck in!

bbq Stephen Dillon Stephen Dillon

More: ‘I’m a big believer in eating the rainbow’: 5 midweek meals from a vegetable fanatic in Cork

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